AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

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AA grounds MD-80's

Postby el » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:54 pm

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23808772/

AA has grounded its MD-80 fleet to inspect some wires. Must have been fun with 200 flight cancellations.

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Re: AA grounds MD-80's

Postby PurduePilot » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:57 pm

That's funny... An AA MD-88 took off from KLAF about 50 minutes ago.

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Re: AA grounds MD-80's

Postby Half Bottle » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:59 pm

That's funny... An AA MD-88 took off from KLAF about 50 minutes ago.
From the article:
“We are in the process of completing the inspections on the remaining airplanes and will return them to service on a rolling basis throughout the day,” Wagner said.
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AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby 3WE » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:44 pm

Iernet news sources are saying that AA canceled about 200 flights today (3/26/08) to inspect wiring on MD-80s.
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:52 pm

That's the way it's down at a 'REAL' Airline.
SouthWest, you listening?
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby einesellesenie » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:19 pm

Maybe they anticipated a 10 M fine coming...
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Re: AA grounds MD-80's

Postby sindeewell » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:14 pm

Holy crap...my pilot friend flies these out of Logan. Bet he's gonna be pissed that he's missing more flights. He was stuck in DFW last week due to the winds.
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Re: AA grounds MD-80's

Postby Dummy Pilot » Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:33 pm

Holy crap...my pilot friend flies these out of Logan. Bet he's gonna be pissed that he's missing more flights. He was stuck in DFW last week due to the winds.

Assuming AA's contract is similar to ours, He gets paid for the leg whether it flies or not. Unless it's either the first leg or the last leg home that gets cancelled, I bet he's not that heartbroken.

While the news story doesn't make it explicitly clear, the inspections at American are a direct result of the fallout from SouthWest. The FAA found itself with egg on it's face in regards to compliance issues and over the next several weeks, they are going to be crawling all over the paperwork/logbooks for all airlines to ensure all airworthiness directives have been complied with down to the letter. A similar 'blitz' occured several years ago when the whole "turn a blind eye' fiasco occured in the FAA's relationship with Valuejet.

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby 3WE » Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:19 pm

That's the way it's down at a 'REAL' Airline.
SouthWest, you listening?
Have you posted the same at JP for mister Alex to get fired up about :) (Actually he's a good guy, but he does get animate about SWA).
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Thu Mar 27, 2008 1:38 am

That's the way it's down at a 'REAL' Airline.
SouthWest, you listening?
Have you posted the same at JP for mister Alex to get fired up about :) (Actually he's a good guy, but he does get animate about SWA).
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby musicman476 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:43 am

It was a mess at DFW Wednesday. I saw some interesting equipment subs to make up for the planes out, like a 777 to MCO. (originally a 757) Was flying out to Denver on an AA 737 flight, so it wasn't delayed unlike those of several of my coworkers. My original 73- flight was oversold so I VDB'd, made some money and got to DEN just a couple hours later. I'm just glad we didn't have any weather issues in Dallas the last two days in addition to all this.

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Digger » Sun Mar 30, 2008 4:45 pm

It looks as if the recent groundings at Southwest and AA are just the tip of the iceberg.

It was mentioned in past NATCA President Joh Carr's blog today:http://themainbang.typepad.com/blog/200 ... l#comments

Of the comments to the blog entry, I find this one, quoted below, particularly interesting. Anybody here care to comment on this?
Note to all readers- I just want you to understand what is REALLY going on here.

The FAA ordered it's inspectors to do a radom check of just 10 airworthiness directives per airline. There are, infact, hundreds of AD's that apply to each different model of plane. The FAA could NEVER look at them all, and for the last three or four years, has repeated told it's inspector workforce that anyone who actually wants to look at the plane, or the records themselves, is one of those "old thinking" inspectors, and instead, the FAA's new, more business friendly approach is to only check the REPORTS that the airline submits to the FAA.

Now, Inspectors have been pushing back for years. And being thrown under-the-bus by AVS line of business for years. Nick (and Tom, and John H, etc) that the Airlines are primarily responsible for AD compliance, the Manufactures are primarily responsible for developing AD's, etc, etc, etc.

Now, when one airline is exposed, Nick orders all his inspectors to "pick TEN AD's", out of the hundreds that are applicable, and go check and see if they actually did what they are REQUIRED to do. Go check the logbooks and see if each plane has a record of AD compliance.

Now, in most cases the Inspectors ARE NOT the ones who picked WHICH AD to check. In many cases, FAA Management- first line supervisors- have picked the "low hanging fruit" AD's, the ones that you have to do over and over again- like wire bundle checks, fatigue crack checks- etc, because FAA MGT figured that those that are repetitive AD's would have a good file folder of compliance- even if it was a little overdue, it would have a record of having been done before at the last "D" check, or whatever, so they would be able to keep the mantra "Safety was never compromised" going.

But even with the "Pick Ten" approach, they are uncovering a LOT of AD's that have NOT been complied with.

And the Airlines are scrambling to ground the planes, and do what they SHOULD HAVE DONE, in some cases, YEARS ago.

Yes, it's a damn scarey time to be a passenger on an airline. I know I don't want to fly, if I have a choice.

Just wait until the NEXT cycle of inspections here. They started with a "random pick ten". But the next quarter, they are tasked to pick TEN PERCENT of outstanding AD's, and will be doing a formal review of 10% of al outstanding AD's every quarter, until they have the ability to review them ALL.

Which means the non-compliance discovery's, the grounding of airlines to check overdue AD's may very well continue for the next 2 1/2 years, until every AD for every plane is checked ONCE by an FAA inspector.

Note- the 747 instrument calibarion from South Korea is a non-story, except to the extent that FAA MGT continues to fight against having regular, routine once-per-year inspections at foreign repair stations. FAA MGT still wants to continue handing off those inspecitions and routine oversite to the local civil air authority in the country were they are located. Maintenance goes to the lowest bidder, after all.

El Salvador.

China.

Indonesia.

Mexico.

Wherever it can be done cheaper.

And so the downward spiral goes........

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Sun Mar 30, 2008 6:26 pm

As one of those guys stationed at an off shore maintenance vendor, I can tell you that we would and have pull out of any vendor that could not comply fully with requirements of our maintenance program. When you found a good vendor, price became less of an issue.
I have first hand knowledge of 6 maintenance vendors (MRO's). Five in the US and one offshore. One of the US MRO's is owned by the same company that owns the off shore MRO. All MRO's have had problems addressing specific areas of the maintenance program and all MRO's have attempted to address the problems. Three MRO's are no longer vendors the other three are active.
I know of 3 off shore and 12 U.S. based MRO's our company has used. They have pulled out of 8 US based MRO's due to failure to perform. It isn't a cost issue. It's simply a failure to accomplish the tasks assigned. In a couple of cases the MRO got caught signing off items not accomplished. We pulled out immediately, This type of pull out disrupt the maintenance schedule but must be done. The others were repeated failure to deliver the product in a timely manner. Strangely it's the off shore MRO's that performed better.
Vended maintenance can be a very successful program provided you monitor and manage the process. For a single aircraft in a heavy maintenance check an airline using an MRO needs on site the following:
1 Program Manager
1 program specialist.
1 QA specialist.
1 Parts specialist
1 Engineering Rep.
That's 5 people to monitor a single aircraft.
The cost of placing and maintaining these people at an off shore location is a major expense. Multiple aircraft in check requires additional people but not one for one. I know the budget to maintain the airlines supervisory work force (12 people covering 3 lines of aircraft) at a major off shore vendor exceeded 2 million USD per year.
The alternative would be to find and buy or build and staff a 150 - 200 million USD facility.
I do not approve of removing aircraft from an airlines own maintenance hangars and routing them to an MRO but when an airline out grows it's maintenance facility, MRO's, when used and monitored correctly can provided maintenance on par with the airlines own maintenance system.

AD's are usually not an MRO issue. The airline is at fault 95% of the time. The MRO can not accomplish an AD when the airline's maintenance system fails to assign the AD to the maintenance to be accomplished list.
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Digger » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:00 pm

Thank you, Don. A very enlightening reply, as usual.

While you addressed the last part (reference the off-shore vendors), of the comment I quoted, you didn't really address the larger question of whether it is intentional that not all ADs are being complied with, and whether the FAA has any complicity in that.

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Digger » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:27 pm

I'd kinda hoped for a reply to that...

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:13 pm

Thank you, Don. A very enlightening reply, as usual.

While you addressed the last part (reference the off-shore vendors), of the comment I quoted, you didn't really address the larger question of whether it is intentional that not all A.D.s are being complied with, and whether the FAA has any complicity in that.
Intentional? No. But there are several factors that can lead to non-compliance.

AD's are based on service bulletins. The engineering department converts the information contained in the S/B into work instructions specific to the airlines aircraft by authoring an Engineering Order. The S/B is written for all affected aircraft and can be confusing to those unused to the format and language used in developing the S/B. Before the E.O. is released, Quality Assurance reviews the document specifically to insure that the methods provided in the instructions comply with the A.D. or that the engineer applied for and received an AMOC. I have seen an instruction written in such a way that a mechanic could misinterpret the instruction. Thus is may be necessary to clarify and re-comply with that specific instruction.

I have seen cases where the A.D. was simply missed by the engineering department.

More common is an entry error in the airlines computer tracking system. Repetive A.D. have been entered as nonrepetitive. A.D.'s have been entered without a compliance date thus never come due so it is never issued.

In every case that I know of, the non-compliance was caused by human error not an intentional act. Even though South Wests event was gross negligence, it was not intentional.
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Half Bottle » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:57 pm

In every case that I know of, the non-compliance was caused by human error not an intentional act. Even though South Wests event was gross negligence, it was not intentional.
Are you sure, Don? If these allegations are accurate, it may very well have crossed that line from negligent to intentional (at least as a cover-up).


The whistleblowers are scheduled to testify before Congress on Thursday, but before their date with lawmakers, FAA inspectors Bobby Boutris and Douglas Peters told their story to NPR.

In 2003, Boutris was in charge of reviewing the engine maintenance for 737s in his region. He says that when he looked at Southwest Airlines' paperwork, it was so inconsistent and incomplete that he couldn't tell what was going on with the engines.

"I had found a lot of inconsistencies with the records," Boutris says. "They were different from aircraft to aircraft; it was very hard to determine compliance."

He complained to his supervisor but was largely ignored. The situation came to a head in 2006, when Boutris was named program manager for the Boeing 737-700 series. He says he was responsible for the safety of the entire aircraft and that Southwest's record-keeping had not improved. He again went to his supervisor and explained that he was seeing the same problems. Boutris wanted to send a letter of investigation, but the supervisor refused.

An FAA letter of investigation is a serious matter for an airline. And in Boutris' particular circumstances, according to FAA rules, he was required to investigate further.

Boutris says he was blocked yet again by the supervisor, Douglas Gawadzinski, and thinks he knows why. He says Gawadzinski was friends with a man named Paul Comeau, a former FAA inspector who had accepted a position with Southwest Airlines as the manager for regulatory compliance.

"Anything that had to do with aircraft maintenance, it was dealt between Mr. Gawadzinski and Mr. Comeau. They had a very close relationship," Boutris says.

Neither Gawadzinski nor Comeau responded to NPR requests for comment.

With a former FAA insider heading up their compliance team, Boutris says, Southwest grew complacent and arrogant. But Boutris says he refused to back off and the carrier tried to get him removed.

"It was obvious that Southwest Airlines was trying to cherry-pick the inspector for the inspection," he says. "And because of my knowledge, they didn't want me to perform this inspection, they wanted somebody else."

At first, Gawadzinski refused to remove Boutris. But it wasn't long before the supervisory maintenance inspector told Boutris he was out and that his career was in jeopardy because there had been undisclosed complaints from anonymous Southwest officials.

This is where the second FAA whistleblower, Peters, became involved.

Peters was asked to review Boutris' Southwest investigation. The more he looked into the matter, the more he agreed with Boutris that the flying public was in danger. Peters says the situation defied logic. "That something so critical ... would be not addressed ... I can't explain it. It's a mystery."

Peters says Southwest also began trying to interfere with his investigation by going behind his back to FAA supervisor Gawadzinski. The situation for Southwest, however, was about to change.

In March 2007, the airline reported to the FAA that it had not done the required fuselage inspections on 47 jets. The checks are crucial because some versions of the Boeing 737 are vulnerable to cracks just above and below the windows. In 1988, an Aloha Airlines 737 decompressed and blew out 18 feet of its roof, killing a flight attendant. Instead of grounding the 47 aircraft and inspecting them, Southwest quietly continued to fly the jets. Gawadzinski, who was aware of Southwest's alleged deception, is accused of helping the airline cover it up.
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Re: AA Cancellations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:23 pm

"IF" this is true, there will be several members of Southwest's management and several from the FAA spending time in a gray-bar hotel!

Fraud, endangering public safety. Unthinkable!

There is no way a cover up of this magnitude could be hidden indefinitely. If you know you're going to get caught, how stupid do you have to be to continue?

"IF" it turns out anything of value changed hands between Southwest and the FAA, heads will roll!

I sincerely hope it's not true! "IF" true, the ramifications will affect the relationship between the FAA and the airlines for decades.
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Digger » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:24 am

"IF" true, the ramifications will affect the relationship between the FAA and the airlines for decades.
In a positive manner, or a negative one? (Which, of course depends on your view of what's positive and what's negative.)

In much the same way that the state trooper with his radar gun is in an "adversarial" relationship with everybody else on the highway, (but if you're keeping to the speed limit, you theoretically have nothing to worry about, right?), shouldn't the inspector/inspectee relationship be adversarial?

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby David Hilditch » Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:09 am

In much the same way that the state trooper with his radar gun is in an "adversarial" relationship with everybody else on the highway, (but if you're keeping to the speed limit, you theoretically have nothing to worry about, right?), shouldn't the inspector/inspectee relationship be adversarial?
I think, to work properly, regulation requires both. A carrot and a stick. Some collaboration is needed for the system to work at all, with penalties for offenders. It merely involves managerial skill to apply both. It will be interesting to learn in due course how many of American's MD-80s failed to meet the requirements and, also, by how much.

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Dmmoore » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:26 pm

"IF" true, the ramifications will affect the relationship between the FAA and the airlines for decades.
In a positive manner, or a negative one? (Which, of course depends on your view of what's positive and what's negative.)

In much the same way that the state trooper with his radar gun is in an "adversarial" relationship with everybody else on the highway, (but if you're keeping to the speed limit, you theoretically have nothing to worry about, right?), shouldn't the inspector/inspectee relationship be adversarial?
The FAA has a unique charter. It's charged with the dual rolls of promoting aviation and regulatory enforcement.
In the past the FAA approach has been very even handed. When a regulatory problem is uncovered and disclosed by the airline, the FAA does not take punitive action but does insure the public safety by insuring an AMOC (Alternate Means Of Compliance) is accomplished until the intent of the regulatory issue is resolved in a timely manner with a minimum disruption to flight schedules.

AAL has stated several times that it "had no choice" in grounding the aircraft. That indicates the FAA was unwilling to approve an AMOC based on AAL's previous inspection which precluded safety issues for a short term extension (18 to 24 months) allowing the problem to be rectified during normal maintenance cycles.

The FAA is not just the aviation police, they are also the Chamber of Commerce. The AAL event may mean the FAA is more concerned with the letter of the law than the spirit. In which case the public will not be served justly when an error is discovered. With several thousand documents, all created and actioned by humans, occasional mistakes will be made and found. If aircraft are grounded for these events ATC's problem may be solved. The number of inconveinenced passengers will be increasing with little affect on public safety.
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby aardvark2zz » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:25 am

It seems to be a total f*&k-up ! Passengers stranded by airline !?

Passengers possibly stranded by a detail !??

The CEO of AMR should be fired; without a bonus !

Anyone have a summary of the AD ?

What was the worry about the AD ? Would planes crash ?

Was it based on previous serious incidents ? Like brake failure due to wiring damage ?

Thanks
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Digger » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:40 am

The FAA has a unique charter. It's charged with the dual rolls of promoting aviation and regulatory enforcement.


Are you sure about that?

I thought I'd read somewhere that the "promotional" aspect of the FAA's charter had been eliminated. I googled around, trying to find the actual text of the charter, but with the word "charter' being so common in reference to a certain type of air operation, I gave up without actually getting hold of the text.

I did find a number of articles that indicated that in the wake of ValueJet, there had been a call for such a change, and that the change did actually take place.

A couple of those:

http://www.cnn.com/US/9606/18/faa.valujet/
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the wake of the ValuJet crash, the Clinton administration will ask Congress to limit the mandate of the Federal Aviation Administration to safety, eliminating its role as cheerleader for the airline industry.

"The FAA looked itself in the mirror," U.S. Transportation Secretary Federico Pena said during a news conference Tuesday. "It found that organizational and management changes were needed."...

... "I am urging that Congress change the FAA charter to give it a single, primary mission, safety and only safety," Pena said. He said this would be the most fundamental of a number of changes the administration was making to increase safety....
http://www.ainonline.com/news/single-ne ... oosterism/
“It wasn’t long ago when it was in the charter of the FAA to be an advocate for the building of airplanes and for the aviation industry in general,” he said. But after the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades, amid charges that the FAA was too cozy with the aviation industry, Congress amended the charter.

“It became clear in the legislation that it was no longer to be an advocate for the industry,” said Tiahrt. “Instead it became an adversary and made it more difficult for us to get certification in a timely fashion.”
http://recent-business-news.com/data/ar ... 16.43.html
"We suspect there may be other airlines in a similar situation to Southwest, and our investigation is continuing," says Jim Berard, director of communications for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The FAA has long been dogged by charges that it's too close to the airlines it regulates. Part of the problem lies in its history. When it was first created by Congress in 1958, the FAA was charged with both regulating the airlines and fostering the growth of the industry. After the crash of a ValuJet plane in 1996, in which questions were raised about the FAA's oversight of the airline, Congress took away the FAA's role of fostering the industry, hoping that would bolster its regulatory efforts.[10]
What's really interesting in all of this is the FAA's own take on that particular change. From its self-written history:

http://www.faa.gov/about/media/b-chron.pdf
To address public perceptions about
FAA’s “dual mission,” the law specified safety as the agency’s highest priority. FAA remained responsible for encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, but references to a promotional role were eliminated from its mandate.
Do you suppose they thought congress was just putting on a show for the damned, annoying, should-be-minding-their-own-business, public, and that they really didn't mean for the FAA to get out of bed with the airlines?

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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby aardvark2zz » Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:03 am

Well here is the AD from September 5, 2006.

http://www.airweb.faa.gov/Regulatory_an ... enDocument
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Re: AA Cancelations- MD-80 Wiring

Postby Half Bottle » Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:02 pm

The FAA has a unique charter. It's charged with the dual rolls of promoting aviation and regulatory enforcement.


Are you sure about that?

I thought I'd read somewhere that the "promotional" aspect of the FAA's charter had been eliminated. I googled around, trying to find the actual text of the charter, but with the word "charter' being so common in reference to a certain type of air operation, I gave up without actually getting hold of the text.

I did find a number of articles that indicated that in the wake of ValueJet, there had been a call for such a change, and that the change did actually take place.

Here you go, Digger.

This is the FAA's mission (as modified after ValuJet) established by Congress in the Federal Aviation Reautorization Act of 1996. The changes that were made were, primarily, the insertion of item (d)(1) to esablish the FAA's primary mission being that of aviation safety. Also in item (d)(3) the original text of "promoting, ecouraging" was changed to just say "encouraging". Whether those changes are satisfactory to truly eliminate the "dual mandate" is an interesting discussion point.
(d) Safety Considerations in Public Interest.--In carrying out
subpart III of this part and those provisions of subpart IV applicable
in carrying out subpart III, the Administrator shall consider the
following matters, among others, as being in the public interest:
(1) assigning, maintaining, and enhancing safety and security as
the highest priorities in air commerce.
(2) regulating air commerce in a way that best promotes safety
and fulfills national defense requirements.
(3) encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new
aviation technology.
(4) controlling the use of the navigable airspace and regulating
civil and military operations in that airspace in the interest of
the safety and efficiency of both of those operations.
(5) consolidating research and development for air navigation
facilities and the installation and operation of those facilities.
(6) developing and operating a common system of air traffic
control and navigation for military and civil aircraft.
(7) providing assistance to law enforcement agencies in the
enforcement of laws related to regulation of controlled substances,
to the extent consistent with aviation safety.
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